One question I hear from executives is this: How can I tell if people want to follow me?

The answer to that question lies in your example. The way you communicate, challenge, plan and evaluate. Here are five questions to ask yourself to check if you are on track. (read more…)

Difficult people. Ah, one of my favorite topics about some of my least favorite people.

You know whom we’re talking about. They’re the high-maintenance ones who are easy to upset and difficult to please, who take everything personally, who whine, blame, complain, make excuses, feel sorry for themselves and where just the mention of their name causes you to have a knot in your stomach and walk on eggshells (aka their “thin skins”) around them. And in your personal and family life, they are the ones you hope will be too sick to come and gleefully spoil Thanksgiving or Xmas dinner.

Now that I’ve already re-created that nauseating feeling in you by just bringing them up, it is only fitting that as not only a consultant, but also a medical doctor, psychiatrist and hostage-negotiation trainer, that I give you the cure.

Read my lips — or, shall I say, my words” “What makes them so difficult to deal with is not your fear of provoking or them, but your fear that after you do that, they will react in such an appalling way that they will so provoke and upset you that it will unleash a deep rage inside you, that you are so uncomfortable with and is so out of sync with how you view yourself.”

After all, since most of you consider yourself to be fair-minded, thoughtful, rational and reasonable, the thought of wanting to rip their head off is a tad unsettling. (read more…)

On Wednesday, I asked readers of SmartBrief on Leadership the following question in our daily e-mail newsletter:

How many direct reports do you have?

  • 7 or more: 30.83%
  • 1-3: 24.90%
  • 4-6: 23.72%
  • Zero: 20.55%

How many is too many? This poll serves only as a first inquiry into the work lives of managers, but we at least know that nearly 80% of respondents are responsible for managing at least one person at their job. There is a lot written — for good reason — about people who move from being star performers to being stars who also must be accountable for developing others. However, having too many direct reports can be a problem of its own; to give just one example, this story of the revival of General Motors by former CEO and Chairman Ed Whitacre reveals his shock that his predecessor could have 15 to 20 senior-level direct reports. (read more…)

The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council, an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and e-mail lessons. Read previous SmartBlogs posts by YEC.

Q. Running a business is stressful — and it’s easy to lose sight of how your stress level impacts your team. As CEO/founder, how do you make sure your employees feel supported?

yec_Maren Hogan1. Have weekly Wednesday meetings

We have weekly meetings to wrap things up on our Friday, which is Wednesday. We get our ducks in a row over pizza and tater tots at a locally owned restaurant that we all enjoy. We go around the table and talk about our individual projects, how they relate to one another and how we can help one another to optimize our client experience. (read more…)

The most important quality to look for in new hires is passion, says Dana Stocks, the chief human resources officer at Philips. SmartBrief recently asked Stocks questions about how Philips recruits passionate workers and keeps them engaged. An edited version of his responses follows.

How does Philips encourage employees to become passionate about their work?

First, we hire passionate people because we believe our passion for improving lives is what sets us apart from the rest.

Second, we allow individuals to evolve within the company. When recruiting for open positions, we look internally first, encouraging employees to apply for new roles reflecting their current passions, interests and skill set. It is common to hold different roles in various departments or sectors at Philips.

We also respect our employees’ need for work-life balance. If our employees are happy and engaged outside of the office, that passion will manifest itself in their work. (read more…)